Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella Review | Average Hiker
Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella Review
I purchased the Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella by Six Moon Designs for my AZT hike. Below is my review of the umbrella I purchased to replace my well used Go-Lite umbrella.
Yes, I am an umbrella proponent. I used my original Go-Lite umbrella on the CDT in New Mexico, Southern CA on the PCT, and southbound on the AT. Over the years, my appreciation for umbrellas has grown. I used to get a lot of comments when I carried one, but now they are much more common place on the trail.
My Umbrella Requirements
My Use and Requirements remain the same for my next umbrella.
- Light Weight – I still don't consider umbrellas a necessity, so I want to keep the weight as low as possible. This is one of the reasons I went with this particular umbrella.
- Pack Size – I keep my umbrella in my water bottle pocket on the outside (side) of my pack. Having an umbrella that packs small is important.
- Temperature Regulation – I often use umbrellas in desert environments so having an umbrella that reflects sun and keeps me cooler is a priority.
- Weatherproof – Fortunately, weather resistance is part of an umbrellas basic functions.
How I've Used an Umbrella
Over the years I've discovered numerous uses for my umbrellas. In the past I've used them only in hot, dry environments (deserts, Great Divide Basin, etc.), but in 2013 I took my umbrella on the AT with me from Katahdin to High Point State Park in New Jersey. This was in the fall, and I had a good bit of rain. I was glad I took my umbrella.
- Sun – I started the PCT in late May in 2008, heading northbound. School was a factor, and I skipped the graduation ceremony so I could start hiking as quickly as possible. My umbrella was INVALUABLE in the hot desert. I remember a moment with no cover, crouched on baked earth under a brutal desert sun, as temperatures soared to over 120 degrees.
- Rain – The umbrella is so much easier to throw up than stopping to put on sweaty, sticky rain gear – especially in warm temperatures.
- Packing – Great to have when packing up in the rain, or even putting up my tarp. I set the umbrella over my pack and gear while I do these things.
- Tarp Door – Have used it as a door on the end of my tarp in wind and wind driven rain. Works great in these conditions if I'm only using a tarp.
- Weapon – I have fended off several stubborn canines, and a snake!
Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella Review – Quick Specifications
- 6.8 ounces
- Weight includes umbrella and cover
- Length: 10″
- Width at center: 48″ (122 cm)
- Open Width: 38″
- Coverage: 7.5 ft
- Shaft Length: 20.5 ft
- Aluminum Frame
- Plastic Handle
- UPF 50+ Rating
Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella Review – Comparison/Decision
When choosing my next umbrella, I took a few factors into consideration. These included price, weight and UPF Rating. Diameter was pretty close on the ultralight umbrellas I reviewed, so I did not factor it into my decision in this case.
Price is not always a deciding factor for me, or at the very top of my priority list, although it is always important. I'm too dependent on the few pieces of good gear I take. In the case of the umbrella though, it was a priority since I consider umbrella's a “nice to have” in most cases. I'm not going to die or have a very uncomfortable hike if my umbrella fails.
My umbrella is also the first piece of gear I send home when I get weight crazy – which happens sometimes as I progress on a long hike. As I get in better shape and start moving faster and going further, I also start shedding weight.
Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella Review – First Glance
The Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella arrived about 4 weeks after I ordered it. The umbrella was coming from Amazon and not deemed a priority item due to Covid-19 (understandable), so shipping was delayed.
The ultralight umbrella was small and compact, as I had hoped. It would be easy to pack in my water bottle pocket on the side of my backpack.
The Silver Shadow Umbrella is collapsible, and I did wonder out loud at it's durability. Would the small hinges hold up to hard use? Were heavy winds going to collapse the little umbrella when I needed it most? Fortunately, I was able to test it out in some decent storms.
Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella Review – Features
The Silver Shadow was easy to remove from it's cover, but not so easy to slide back into the cover after it had been opened. That's no big deal since I will only be using it for backpacking and hiking, but for regular traveling it might be a little irritating.
I did find that after using the umbrella a few times, it loosened up a bit. It was also easier to slide the cover back on if I started with the nose of the umbrella when sliding on the cover (not that I would ever try the other end – often).
Handle & Shaft
The small handle on the umbrella is made of hard plastic and seems durable. The short length makes it awkward to mount on the sternum shift of my pack, but I'm working on a couple of ideas to make the rigging more stable. Note that Six Moon Designs also offers a Hands Free Rigging Kit.
The aluminum shaft of the umbrella is durable, and the umbrella is initially easy to put all the way up. Letting it down is a little more difficult. It comes down fairly easily until the last section, and then I have to “play” with the buttons to get it past the edge of the last section. This may loosen up over time.
Silver Shadow Spoke Hinges
The Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella is collapsible, which is one of the things that makes it attractive in a “compact” environment. The last section of the spokes has a small hinge that allows you to fold up the spokes on the umbrella. It almost completely fits into the back of the side pocket on my backpack.
The hinges seem fragile, but they pop into place easily. It is still hard not to feel as if the umbrella is fragile though, so initially I was gentle when lifting the lower spokes to completely open the small umbrella.
Silver Shadow Mini Temperature Control
The Silver Shadow Mini's exterior is silver. This along with the black underside should reduce temperatures. The umbrella I took on other hikes did not have these advantages, and still significantly reduced heat for me. I don't think I would have been able to easily hike in temperatures over 100 degrees without an umbrella.
In addition to getting the impression that the Silver Shadow was a little fragile, I also questioned the quality briefly. The strap that wrapped around the umbrella uses a small piece of Velcro. The Velcro patch was sewn off center and hung over the edge of the strap a little. This was a minor flaw that did not impact the function of the umbrella.
Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella Review – Materials/Construction
As mentioned earlier, the exterior of the umbrella is a silver fabric that aids in reflecting sunlight and heat. It also has a coating to repel rain. The interior fabric is black. This also helps to keep the interior of the umbrella cooler. The fabric on the umbrella also has a UPF 50+ rating.
The construction of the Silver Shadow Mini is solid. It was easy to open, and all of the small, seemingly fragile hinges clicked easily into place. The material used for the umbrella itself is also durable. Little canine toenails failed to puncture the fabric.
Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella – Performance/Final Thoughts
The Silver Shadow Mini has not been on a long distance hike with me yet, but on a few occasions it has had an opportunity to gallop around with me in some solid storms.
The thing that impressed me the most about the Silver Shadow Mini was it's ability to withstand wind. My first impression was that the small hinges on the spokes were fragile, but they held up in some strong wind gusts, and the collapsible umbrella did not collapse on me.
The material was also waterproof. I was repeatedly dumped on during storms where I used the umbrella. The umbrella did not leak, and the width was wide enough to keep me relatively rain spray free.
Silver Shadow Mini Final Thoughts
For it's price, weight and size, the Silver Shadow Mini Umbrella held up quite well in some tough rain conditions. At this point, I would purchase this ultralight umbrella again. I will hopefully be heading out to hike the Colorado Trail in August, followed by the Arizona Trail immediately afterwards, and plan to take this umbrella with me.